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Doctor sues to void license restriction

SANTA FE, N.M. — Dr. George Schwartz, a Santa Fe doctor who has engaged in a long-running fight with the state Medical Board, is suing to nullify the agreement under which he gave up his medical license in 2008.

Schwartz says now he agreed to the deal without understanding it and while he was in ill health and under pressure to sign from a Medical Board prosecutor and his own lawyer.

The agreement stated that Schwartz, who’d been accused of not keeping adequate records to justify certain prescriptions of high levels of narcotics and amphetamines, could continue his “consulting and research practice.”

But it turns out medical consulting is illegal without a medical license, and that contradiction makes the agreement void and unenforceable, Schwartz’s lawsuit maintains.

“Because there was a profound misunderstanding of the meaning of the agreement, there was no meeting of the minds as to the essential terms of the agreement,” says the suit filed for Schwartz by attorney Brian Egolf, a state legislator from Santa Fe.

In the 2008 deal, Schwartz surrendered his license to practice medicine and agreed to “not practice medicine or seek an active license to practice medicine anywhere in the United States, now or in the future.”

The order said Schwartz did “not admit any wrongdoing, but desires an amicable resolution of this case in order to devote more time to his family and develop his consulting and research practice.”

Schwartz specialized in family practice and emergency medicine. But he became known for research and treatment of Morgellons disease, a condition not recognized by mainstream medicine in which patients feel that something is crawling under their skin.

He wrote a book called, “The Parasite Explosion: Morgellons Disease and the Northward Movement of Parasites.” At a hearing, he said the disease was “sweeping across New Mexico” and acknowledged treating some patients in hotel rooms.

Efforts by the Journal to reach someone who could speak for the Medical Board about Schwartz’s lawsuit on Friday were unsuccessful.

Schwartz’s license had been revoked by the Medical Board in April 2006. But a state district judge overturned the board’s decision, maintaining that Schwartz had been denied an adequate opportunity to retain a lawyer to help him with the Medical Board proceedings. The judge remanded the case to the board, and that’s when the agreement was struck for Schwartz to give up his license.

The suit says that, when Schwartz signed the agreement, he thought he would still be able to consult with patients on an individual basis and offer “second-opinion services.” He said the Medical Board’s chief administrative prosecutor told him he would be able to continue consulting.

Within three days of signing the agreement, the lawsuit says, Schwartz learned of its “true meaning and implications” and “rescinded the agreement in writing directed to the Board.” His suit asks a judge to declare the agreement null and void.

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